On Friday (August 26th), Brooklyn was all about fun, (mostly) sun … and some serious riffs as Anthrax, Black Label Society, and Hatebreed descended upon Coney Island. Fans enjoyed food and booze on the boardwalk before hitting the amphitheater for a night of heavy metal.
A headliner in their own right, Hatebreed kicked off the evening with “Proven” from their 2002 album Perseverance. While vocalist Jamey Jasta told the crowd the night was one of celebrating four decades of Anthrax, Hatebreed are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Perseverance and the 25th birthday of 1997’s Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire. Both albums were well represented in the band’s 17-song setlist.
A somber moment took place as Hatebreed dedicated their performance of “Last Breath” to late Black Dahlia Murder singer Trevor Strnad, who passed away earlier this year. At another point during the set, Jasta reminisced about old New York venues and memories of first starting out. He told the rowdy crowd when Hatebreed began they just wanted to play with notable New York band Biohazard. “Empty Promises” was dedicated to the members of the influential Brooklyn-based band.
Circle pits ensued throughout the set especially during other Hatebreed anthems “As Diehard as They Come,” “This Is Now” and “Live for This.” The night ended as it began with a favorite from Perseverance, the walloping track “I Will Be Heard.”
Hatebreed just announced a headlining tour to round out the year, and luckily for local fans, the band will back in New York on that run soon.
Next up, the curtain dropped to “Funeral Bell” as Brooklyn rocked out to New Jersey’s Black Label Society. Frontman Zakk Wylde, donning a red and black plaid kilt, and the rest of the band ripped our eardrums to shreds. BLS performed new songs from their latest album, Doom Crew Inc., including “Destroy & Conquer,” “You Made Me Want to Live” and “Set You Free.”
One of the most fun moments of the set were when the Doom Crew unleashed beach balls onto the already excited crowd during “Fire It Up.” The song also turned into a major riff duel between Wylde standing on the piano and guitarist Dario Lorina, who held his own on center stage.
Onstage, Wylde is part musician, part WWE wrestler, but he can also get downright sentimental. During the ballad “In This River,” with Wylde at the piano, photos of late Pantera brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul were projected on the video screens. Beginning in December, Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante will be joining the reactivated Pantera for a series of reunion show.
Black Label Society’s set ended with fan favorites “Suicide Messiah” and “Stillborn.” The New York chapter was riled up from a commanding set from Wylde and the rest of the band.
You wouldn’t think an Anthrax set begins with Keanu Reeves, but it did. Reeves along with numerous actors, comedians and a variety of musicians were shown in a video tribute marking the band’s 40th anniversary. From Slash and Corey Taylor to Jason Mamoa and The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus, they all shared their admiration for the band.
With Among the Living turning 35 years old this year, the album was well represented during Anthrax’s set, including “Caught in a Mosh” and “I Am the Law. Elsewhere, lots of beer spilled during old-school songs like “Metal Thrashing Mad” and “Madhouse.”
Each member of Anthrax is entertaining to watch, from Joey Belladonna’s limitless vocal range to bassist Frank Bello’s fun metal faces to Scott Ian’s athletic jumps. Then you have the cool and collected talent of guitarist John Donais and drummer Charlie Benante, who make it look effortless onstage.
Having caught Anthrax in concert at least 15 times, from headlining shows to cruises to festivals over the years, it would seem like I’d seen it all with this band. But even I was in for a surprise when Chuck D of Public Enemy graced the stage for a performance of their collaborative song “Bring the Noise.” As a New Yorker born and bred in Queens, a lover of hip-hop and metal, it was a proud and very cool moment.
The memorable set ended with “Indians” off Among the Living. The energy of these songs live gets the blood flowing no matter how old you are, whether it’s your first mosh pit or your 15th Anthrax show.
There was a genuine love, respect and friendship between these bands on this tour. Each of the acts on this lineup have decades of music under their belt and it’s not every tour you get to see three solid headliners in the same night.
While the tour wrapped up Sunday night (August 28th) in Philadelphia, both Scott Ian and Zakk Wylde expressed interest in embarking on another leg in 2023 during their recent conversation for Consequence‘s “Two for the Road” series. See photos and video of the Coney Island show below.
Photo Gallery – Anthrax, Black Label Society and Hatebreed perform in Coney Island (click to enlarge and scroll through):
All photos by Kevin RC Wilson (@kevinwilsonnyc).